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How to Replace Front Strut 97-06 BMW 325Xi

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  1. step : Removing the Wheel (0:22)
    • Loosen the 17mm lug bolts with the vehicle on the ground
    • Raise the vehicle with a floor jack
    • Secure the vehicle on jack stands
    • Remove the lug nuts
    • Pull off the wheel
  2. step : Removing the Strut Assembly (1:01)
    • Remove the 16 mm nut to disconnect the sway bar link from the strut
    • Remove the 18 mm lower strut pinch bolt
    • Using a punch, hammer down on the knuckle to free the lower strut
    • Tie off the wheel knuckle with a bungee cord to prevent detaching the front CV axle
    • Remove the three 13 mm nuts from the upper strut mount
    • Remove the strut assembly
  3. step : Removing the Strut from the Assembly (5:18)
    • Compress the strut spring with a spring compressing tool
    • Hold the strut rod with locking pliers
    • Remove the 21 mm strut rod nut
    • Separate the strut from the assembly
  4. step : Installing the Strut Into the Assembly (8:10)
    • Compress and release the new strut rod three times
    • Transfer the rubber bumper to the new strut
    • Insert the strut into the assembly
    • Reinstall the strut mount
    • Hold the strut rod with locking pliers
    • Install the 7/8 in strut rod nut
    • Torque the 7/8 in strut rod nut to 47 ft-lb
    • Make sure the spring is properly aligned with the strut spring support
    • Release the strut spring from the spring compressing tool
  5. step : Installing the Strut Assembly (11:37)
    • Insert the strut upper mount using the indexing tab to align it properly
    • Install the 12 mm upper strut mount nuts loosely
    • Position the lower strut indexing tab into the wheel knuckle
    • Apply upward pressure on the wheel knuckle with a floor jack to seat the lower strut into the knuckle properly
    • Reposition the brake hose bracket
    • Install the 18 mm lower strut pinch bolt
    • Torque the 18 mm lower strut pinch bolt to 74 ft-lb
    • Torque the 12 mm upper strut mount nuts to 21 ft-lb
    • Lower the floor jack that was used to raise the wheel knuckle
    • Remove the bungee cord that was securing the wheel knuckle
  6. step : Installing the Wheel (15:40)
    • Slide the wheel into place
    • Start the 17mm lug bolts by hand
    • Tighten the lug bolts preliminarily
    • Lower the vehicle partially to the ground
    • Tighten the lug bolts to 95 foot-pounds in a crossing or star pattern
    • Lower the vehicle completely

What's up guys? I'm Andy from 1A Auto. In this video I'm going to show you how to replace the front struts on this 2001 BMW 325xi. If you need parts for your vehicle, click the link in the description and head over to 1AAuto.com. I raised the vehicle, we're using a two post lift. If you're doing this at your house, you can use a jack and jack stands. I'm going to remove the tire to gain extra access. It's going to make it a little bit easier.

I'm going to use a 17-millimeter socket in an air gun. You can always use a breaker bar. Take these lug nuts out, or lug studs out. When I get to the last one, I'm just going to hold the wheel so it doesn't fall. Take the last one out. Grab the wheel, pull it off. I want to loosen up this nut on the link right here. I'm just going to spray some rust penetrant on the nut just to help loosen it up. I'll take a 16-millimeter socket and a ratchet and I'm going to loosen it first, then I'm going to switch to a wrench.

I just turned the wheel a little bit to gain access to this nut so that I can use a 16-millimeter wrench on the nut. And I'm going to hold the stud with a T27 socket and a ratchet. Check to see if a T30 fits, this one may be rusted and that's why it's a T27, but this one fits that'll hold the stud. After awhile I was able to get the T30 on the stud. I think it was just rusted, that's why it wouldn't go on originally. Loosen up that nut. Take that off there. take the nut off so we can slide the stud up.

I'm just going to spray some rust penetrant on this bolt, it's pretty rusty. Let it soak for a little bit. And just take a 18-millimeter socket and a breaker bar, loosen this bolt up. Switch to a ratchet, or if you have an air tool, you can use a air gun. Take this bolt out. Take that bolt out and there's a bracket right here. Set that bracket aside. The brake hose goes through the bracket and the ABS wire. Move that aside.

So you want to take some kind of punch because we want to move the spindle down, or the knuckle down. And we're going to place it right here, and then you can take a pretty heavy hammer. We're going to tap it down. As you can see the strut is staying stationary and the knuckle is going down. At this point it's pretty loose, I can just wiggle it back and forth. Slide this down, slide this out of the way. Be careful with the driveshaft, well the front CV shaft. You don't want to have that get pulled out or anything.

Slide that to the side. Just make sure that it stays like that, should be okay. I am going to take a bungee cord just hook onto here, and hook around the lower control arm. I'm just trying to prevent this whole thing from sliding out. Put that there and hook this over here, that should be good. Then it's not going to pop the CV boot out or anything. All Right, now I'm going to take these three nuts off. I'm going to use a 13-millimeter socket and a ratchet. Be careful not to arc out your ratchet on this stud right here. There should be a cover on here, this vehicle does not have one. So take these off.

All right from underneath, I'm actually going to grab the strut itself. And then from on top, just take out this last nut, and just use a gun. You can use an air gun and loosen it up. Take it out, slide it down, slide it out. We're going to take that strut assembly and put it into a strut compressor machine. They do make different home devices that you can use to compress the spring, just be careful. With this in here, I'm going to take a straight blade screwdriver and just pop this cap off right there. I can access the nut.

And I'm going to compress the spring. I'm just compressing the strut rechecking it, just making sure once the strut is loose, then I'm able to loosen up the nut being very careful. So there's actually a tool to remove this nut from the strut mount so that you can get the strut out and take the mount off. It would be like a 21-millimeter socket with a long handle on it. And then you can use a hex socket or a hex bit to hold the shaft from spinning, but we don't have that. So what I'm going to do is take some locking pliers, and I know this is not recommended, but we're going to be high up on the shaft so it's never going to reach down below there.

I'm going to lock onto the shaft. Now why they don't want you to use locking pliers is because if it mires up the shaft at all, if the shaft goes down to where the seal is, it's going to mess up the seal. But the shaft is never going to get compressed into the strut assembly that deep. So with my locking pliers there, I'm going to take my 21-millimeter socket and an air gun, take off the nut. Be careful, the strut is probably going to fall and hit the ground. Actually I have the locking pliers holding it, so it won't.

Take the nut off, and slide the mount off. There's the bottom part of the bearing. Set that aside. Grab the strut and loosen up the locking pliers. Pull that out. I'm just going to show you, you are going to want to transfer this bumper over, but let me just show you this before. So this is the old strut, and you can move it up and down and there shouldn't be that much play as you move it up and down.

That strut is bad, it has leaked out. The new strut, there's no play in it. You just want to exercise the strut three times. And it should be good. Now if you have a new bumper, put a new bumper on. If not, re-use the old one. And then if there's a boot that goes over it, we have the boot, it's still in the spring, so we'll just leave that there, but put the new boot over that as well.

Carefully slide this strut back into the spring, get that lined up. Take the new mount. There is a washer at the base of this, leave that washer there, leave the mount on. Take the new nut. So if you had the proper tool, this is when you would want to tighten this down. The proper tool looks something like this. This happens to be an O2 sensor socket. What that would do is go on the nut right there, and then you could take the hex bit. This happens to be a seven-millimeter hex bit on a socket. And you could hold that like that, and then use your torque wrench and tighten down the bolt, I mean the nut.

So since we don't have that specific tool, what I'm going to do is use some locking pliers. Again, this isn't recommended, but this is the best we can do. We're going to grab the top part of the shaft, that way at the top part of the shaft, it's not going to hit the seal at all. There's no way it could compress that much, so it's not that big of a deal. And then I'm going to take a socket, it seems like the new nut that comes with the strut seems more like a 7/8 socket versus a 21 mm, or a 13/16. And then I'm going to hold the locking pliers and tighten this nut to 47 foot pounds. And there we go, we're already there.

Now I can take the locking pliers off. Just like I said before, make sure when you grab onto the shaft it's really high up. You don't want to grab it down low. I can put this cover on. All right, so we want to make sure the spring is lined up properly down below. The way this, pretty much the way it came out. And then we'll loosen up on this compressor. Just be careful when doing this type of job. A lot of times the springs can do some crazy things. It's pretty dangerous.

Slide those out. And there we go, now we can install it in the car. So with the strut, I want this little tab right here facing towards the vehicle. And there's this little index tab that's going to line up right there. So slide this in from underneath. Just like that. Get the studs to go through. Take these nuts. I'm going to get these all started. And you can kind of see where do you want to tighten this down, kind of where it was before. Then when you go to have an alignment done, it'll be closer. It's a good idea to have an alignment done after you do this repair to make sure your tires don't get burned out going down the road.

Okay, I am going to leave these two nuts a little bit loose first because I want to slide this into position before we tighten those up. So this little tab is going to go through that groove. So spin that in the proper location, push that like that, just wiggle that a little bit. So with that lined up, I'm just going to take a floor jack, get underneath the control arm right under the ball joint. Actually, take that off. And start pressing up on that. Make sure it goes in there correctly. Wiggle it back and forth a little bit.

So I'm just pushing just using the floor jack, put a little bit of pressure pushing up. Just be careful with your fingers, don't get anything caught. So our strut has bottomed out on our knuckle, which is good, so I'm going to take the bolt. It's probably a good idea to get a replacement bolts for this. Make sure you take this bracket, line the bracket up, and slide the bolt on. Now if you can't get the bolts into this position, then your strut's probably not all the way down, or it's twisted. But there is that guide pin that should line up with that channel, so you should be all set.

I'm just going to take a 18-millimeter socket and ratchet, just to tighten this down first. I'm going to take my 18-millimeter socket and a torque wrench. I'm going to torque this bolt to 74 foot pounds. All right, that's good. Now I'm going to tighten these upper nuts down. Now with these nuts tightened down, I'm just going to use a 12-millimeter socket and a torque wrench, I'm going to tighten these to 21 foot pounds. Now with the strut all tightened in there, I can lower the floor jack. At this point, you can remove the bungee cord, take that off. Take the sway bar link, slide that in position.

Take a 14-millimeter wrench, put it on the back side on the stud. Put the nut, get the nut started. Take a 15-millimeter socket and ratchet, tighten this up. Then use the torque wrench and torque this nut to 47 foot pounds. Now I'm going to put the wheel on. Just line up the holes. Take one of the lug studs, get that started. And I can grab the other ones. I'll just tighten these down, and then I'm going to lower the vehicle and torque them.

All right, now I'm going to use a 17-millimeter socket and a torque wrench. I'm going to torque these lug bolts to 95 foot pounds. I'm going to torque them in a star pattern so that the wheel gets tightened down evenly. I'm just going to go around again, just double check. Good to go.

Thanks for watching. Visit 1AAuto.com for quality auto parts shipped to your door. The place for DIY auto repair. And if you enjoyed this video, please click the subscribe button.

Tools needed for replacement:

    Air Powered Tools

  • 1/2 Inch Air Impact Gun

  • General Tools

  • Hammer
  • Jack Stands
  • Center Punch
  • Floor Jack

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

  • Rust Penetrant
  • Bungee Cord

  • Pliers, Cutters & misc Wrenches

  • Locking Pliers

  • Ratchets & Related

  • Socket Extensions
  • Ratchet
  • 1/2 Inch Breaker Bar

  • Sockets - Metric

  • 12mm Socket
  • 18mm Socket
  • 21mm Socket

  • Sockets - SAE

  • 7/8 Inch Socket

  • Specialty Tools

  • Strut Spring Compression Tool

  • Star Drivers & Sockets

  • T30 Socket
  • T27 Torx Socket

  • Wrenches - Metric

  • 16mm Wrench


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